December 12, 2014 Edition

Valerie Castro

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. PH turning co-accused of VP’s wife as state witness in graft case

    The Philippine government is looking at dropping charges against former Makati Councilor Ernesto Aspillaga and presenting him as state witness against the wife of Vice President Jejomar Binay. A former ally of the Binays, Aspillaga is among those facing charges over an alleged anomalous purchase of office furnishings worth P72.06 million for the Makati City Hall building in 2006 during Mrs. Binay’s term as mayor. Aspillaga, also the former head of Makati’s General Services Department, earlier told the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee probing allegations of corruption against Binay that during the Vice President and his wife’s stints as mayor, rigging bids was the norm.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Moody’s ups Philippines’ investment grade

    Moody’s Investors Service raised the Philippines’ credit rating by one notch, citing the country’s “ongoing debt reduction, aided by improvements in fiscal management, [and] continued favorable prospects for strong economic growth.” The move comes after Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s all raised the Philippines to investment-grade levels in 2013, indicating a lower risk to investors. The credit rating agency once considered the Philippines as Southeast Asia’s economic laggard and even gave it the level of “Baa3,” the lowest of Moody’s investment-grade ranks.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Mindanao lawmaker injured in ambush

    Representative Vicente Belmonte of the lone district of Iligan City in Northern Mindanao was hurt while 4 of his men were killed in a surprise attack, which he forewarned could be politically motivated. The ambush happened just a few meters away from the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental on December 11. Four people on the congressman’s convoy from the airport – his driver, the driver of his back-up vehicle, and two police escorts – were killed after sustaining gunshot wounds. Authorities have yet to identify the suspects. Also in Mindanao, the governor of Bukidnon cited initial results of a police investigation that the bombing of a passenger bus that killed 10 people and hurt 41 others was prompted by extortion against the bus company.

  4. Supreme Court upholds memo for publication of local gov’t finances

    Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold the memoranda issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government years ago, requiring provincial, city, and municipal governments to fully disclose on their websites their income and expense reports, the Inquirer reported. The memos, issued by then DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, was assailed by his political nemesis in Camarines Sur, then Governor Luis Raymond Villafuerte Jr, who told the court that the orders violated the local government units’ fiscal autonomy. The High Court, however, said, “They are amalgamations of existing laws, rules and regulation designed to give teeth to the constitutional mandate of transparency and accountability.”

  5. Climate change activists damage Peru’s heritage site


    The Peruvian government will sue Greenpeace activists for defacing the Nazca lines, figures etched on the surface of Peru’s coastal desert between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago. The environmental activists snuck into the UN heritage – where entry is regulated – to place a banner for policy makers from around the world attending the climate change talks in Lima. Greenpeace has since apologized for the stunt, but Peru said it would file charges of attacking archaeological monuments against the activists and would prevent them from leaving the country. The crime is punishable by up to 6 years in prison. At the Lima conference, the United States urged developing countries to ease objections to a world deal on climate change as deadlines loomed, saying these countries also have to curb carbon emissions.

  6. Mauritian named head of UN Ebola response mission

    Screengrab from youtube (UNDPYemen) Nile TV

    A Mauritanian national has been named to head the United Nations’ Mission for Ebola Emergency Response set up two months ago to combat the world’s worst outbreak of the virus. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who currently serves as number two at the UN mission in Libya, will succeed American Anthony Banbury as the number of infections continues to rise in Sierra Leone, overtaking Liberia as the hardest-hit country. The year-long Ebola epidemic has left nearly 6,400 people dead, with close to 18,000 infections in 8 countries. UN chief Ban Ki-moon created the mission to coordinate the international response to the epidemic, following criticism from non-governmental organizations that not enough was being done.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Strongest storm in a decade threatens California

    “Pineapple Express” – a bad weather sweeping across Hawaii to the US West Coast – began to batter northern California late Wednesday, threatening to cause severe flooding in coastal areas and mudslides in higher elevations. California closed schools and roadways Thursday, as it prepared for what forecasters predicted would be the state’s biggest storm in years, bringing heavy rain and ferocious winds. The storm, with strength equivalent to a Category One hurricane, was expected to last through Friday.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. 3 Indonesian clubs fined for leaking transfer info on social media

    File photo by AFP

    FIFA said it has fined 3 Indonesian clubs for publishing secret transfer information on Twitter, the first time football’s world governing body has handed out sanctions for such social media offenses. Persebaya Surabaya, Persires Bali Devata, and PSIS Semarang were ordered to pay 25,000 Swiss francs ($25,800), 25,000 Swiss francs, and 15,000 Swiss francs, respectively, “for breaching their obligation to keep data contained within the FIFA Transfer Matching System strictly confidential.”

    Read the full story on Rappler

  9. What to expect from PH’s chairmanship of regional economic bloc

    For the first time in 19 years, the Philippines plays host to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the world’s largest regional economic group, taking over from Beijing, whose chairmanship of APEC in 2014 culminated in a landmark US-China climate deal, and the push for a trade deal for a region accounting for half of global business. What can be expected of the Philippines’ chairmanship? “I think the more innovative contribution the Philippines is making is two-fold: one on people and small business, and the other on resilience,” APEC Secretariat Executive Director Alan Bollard told Rappler.

    Read and watch Rappler’s exclusive interview on the Philippines’ priorities as host, regional trade deals, and the “flawless” first meeting in Manila.

  10. How volunteers helped in typhoon emergency response

    As Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) threatened and eventually battered the Visayas and surrounding regions in the Philippines recently, volunteers armed with laptops and the passion to serve helped in emergency response work through Rappler’s Project Agos disaster information management platform. They monitored social media for reports of typhoon damage, flooding, local weather, and calls for rescue. The information scoured from social media sites were relayed to disaster coordinators at the Ruby Response cluster command center of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). From there, action officers deployed resources to address critical situations and provide feedback, which volunteers would relay back to those requesting for help via social media, all in real time.

    Read the full story on Rappler, and know how you can volunteer the next time a disaster or emergency occurs.

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